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There are two types of baseboard heaters. Both have a neat row of thin aluminum “fins” (the heating element) that creates a large heated surface area for the passing cool air currents to encounter. Hydronic baseboard heaters use heated water to forward the energy load to the fins. Operating touch temperatures will rarely exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit – a hot, but still relatively safe temperature. Electric heaters use a resistor that converts electrical energy into heat energy which is transferred directly to the fins. This process operates at much higher temperatures, making electric baseboard heaters potentially dangerous with risks for both burns and starting fires.
The typical resistive electric heater enclosure does little to sufficiently enclose its’ dangerous assets. The big open gaps at the top and bottom present dangers in the event a flammable material or human skin were to touch the heating element. In all fairness to the manufacturers of electric baseboard heaters, these big open gaps are required – but not by some regulatory committee or building code. It’s simple thermodynamics. Convection air current heating requires sufficient airflow around the heating element. That means there can only be minimal restrictions on the heater’s enclosure so that the gentle air currents that move in a circular pattern around a room can easily encounter the heating element.
Although Baseboarders® are designed for use on hot water baseboards, we hear that in many instances they are installed over electric baseboard heaters. If you have electric baseboard heaters you need to be aware of the potential safety risks. Baseboarders® should not be used as a solution to mitigate these risks. The only exception; the single child safety specific feature listed on our site which essentially states that installing Baseboarders® is an effective way to block off the gap at the top of the enclosure where heated air exits. This gap is an area that little crawlers are often attracted to. It can also turn into a storage area for their flammable toys. Baseboarders® will get just as hot as the original covers.